Indian court convicts 1 in 2008 death of teen British girl

NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian appeals court on Wednesday convicted one of two suspects in the rape and murder of a teenage British girl whose bruised body was found on a beach in the western resort city of Goa in 2008.

The Mumbai High Court overturned the acquittal of Samson D’Souza in the attack of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling. But prosecutors said the court upheld the acquittal of another suspect accused of leaving Keeling to die on the beach after drugging and sexually abusing her.

Police originally said Keeling had drowned after taking drugs but changed their story after her mother complained. A second autopsy concluded she had been raped and murdered.

The case caused outrage among millions of Indian and foreign tourists who throng Goa’s beaches.

On Wednesday, Vikram Varma, a lawyer representing Keeling’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, said the court’s decision would provide some relief to her.

“Because of this incident, this loss has weighed heavy on her heart for the last 11 years, and that weight today must have been lifted substantially. It would be finally lifted when she hears the sentence,” Varma told reporters in Panaji, the capital of Goa state.

A trial court acquitted both of the accused in 2016, saying there was not enough evidence to convict them. The High Court took up the case in 2017 after an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s FBI.

The court will sentence D’Souza on Friday. He faces up to life in prison.

Under Indian laws, both the accused and prosecutors can appeal a trial court’s verdict to the High Court and the Supreme Court.

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